Often overlooked amongst the plethora of other vegetables in the produce section, radishes are a great addition to many dishes. Radishes lend a peppery crunch to a salad or sandwich. Try them in this super simple recipe for radish butter.
A Short History of the Radish
Thousands of years ago, China became the first country to cultivate radishes, followed by Egypt and Greece shortly thereafter. The Europeans introduced radishes into the Americas in the 1600s. Now, Americans most commonly consume them raw in salads.
Taste and Texture
Radishes are similar in appearance and texture to turnips or beets. They are a root vegetable classified in the mustard family. This cool-season crop is unique in that it has a short growing season and can mature in as quickly as three weeks. Radishes withstand many environmental and soil conditions, such as a light frost, which make them very resilient.
There are several varieties of radishes that differ in size, color, shape, and flavor. We classify them into four types based on the season during which we grow them. In America, the most familiar is the “button” red radish with its characteristic round or oval shaped root with a gleaming white interior and green leafy tops.
Radishes boast a large nutritional profile. They are a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps rebuild tissues and blood vessels and supports immunity, fiber to aid in digestion, and potassium to help control blood pressure.
Oxygen supply to the blood increases as a result of radish consumption as they help prevent damage to red blood cells. They contain important phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indole-3, which signal the body to make more detoxifying enzymes and have been shown to stop or slow the growth of different types of cancer.
This Month’s Recipe: Radish Butter
Serve radish butter on toasted baguette slices or crackers as an afternoon snack or appetizer. The chopped radishes add texture to the buttery spread and their flavor is greatly enhanced by the creamy salty butter. Consider chilling the butter by rolling it into a log shape using plastic wrap and refrigerating until solid. Thinly slice some of the radish butter to top a piece of grilled steak or chicken.
- 48red radishes (small to medium)
- 2cupsbutter, softened
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Trim leaves and root strands off of radishes, then wash and dry the radish bulbs.
- Place radish bulbs in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
- Add the butter and pulse until smooth.